RISD Intern Dilemma

RISD Intern dilemma

I’ve recently got my second intern from RISD. (I am his mentor / supervisor)
It’s only been his 6th days of work; this dude has been doing all kinds of big No-No at work such as:

  • Talking on the cell phone a whole lot.
  • Late for work.
  • Taking 3 times longer lunch hours than we are suppose to…
  • Cannot finish the smallest job I request him to do…
  • Check his E-mail all the time.
  • Fall asleep on his desk (YES serious snoring going on!!!)
    For so much No-No he does, he is not even that talented to start with.
    I do not remember leaving the office until someone kick us out during internship back in my days… Has it been change so fast already?
    Should I suggest my boss to let him go or should I just let it be? I feel terrible about telling my boss the truth, but with so many warnings I gave him with no improvement.
    I am desperate to search for advice to help this young designer-to-be in a good way…
    Please help!!!
    (God…please let him be on time tomorrow…)

Ouch! Could be that this person has no idea of what professional work/conduct standards are. I would pull them aside and remind them (or you may actually be the first person to ever tell this person) how they’re supposed to conduct themselves.
This might be their first job ever outside of a mcjob and may not realize this young in their career the important, rare, and very valuable opportunity they’re getting.

Pull them off, let them know how many hungry designers also applied for the internship, how they should conduct themselves, etc. It may sound like no-brainer but this person may just have no knowledge of how a professional field works. Risd doesn’t really give much professional info so they may just assume it’s just like studio.
Or the person could also just be pompous and need a quick kick in the arse of reality.

Either way, do a good mentor thing and let them know they’re messing up, let them know how they should be, don’t just watch them kill themselves. Hope it all turns out well.

You have to deal with it now. That’s part of the challenge of being a supervisor. If you don’t it reflects badly on you - then you may have other problems to deal with.

Sit down with the intern - or go our for a 3 hour lunch - but clearly communicate your expectations of him beyond the task at hand or the design deliverable. Set parameters and deadlines for everything that you assign. The intern experience is as much about the professional aspect of the profession as the design aspect. It is also an opportunity for you to learn and grow.

Good Luck!

What do you occupy him with? Do you keep track of his workload/schedule?

One thing I hated about my internships was there were times where I have absolutely nothing to work on. I wished I had specific “mentors” who I can bug.

It’s not entirely his fault. The person who’s responsible for him needs to reflect too.

Sounds like he needs to be ridden.

I think all of the above advice is really good.

Also…If you are his supervisor, and you are having trouble with him, maybe set something up with your boss and see how he or she would handle something like this. Just as this student needs to learn some work ethics, you need to grow as a supervisor, and your boss might have some great insights there for you. It’s not ratting him out, it is doing the right thing

It is your duty to whip him into shape, or cut him loose and get the opportunity to someone who deserves it, but letting him run amuck is a disservice to you, him, your company, and the other kids who would work their butts off in that spot…

… good luck, it sounds like a difficult and awkward situation…

I had a really long talk with him.
Touch bases with sleeping issues, on time manner, cell-phone manner and just designer professional attitude in general.
Although my boss/ creative director is extremely UN organized. However, I keep up with design criteria for the intern to follow since his very first day. I discuss with him of what the end goal of his internship (and school) and hope to help him achieve it. I also set up weekly schedule to help him keep up with the work he needs to finish. Show him basic techniques after work when he manages to stay. The only thing I plan to do and still hasn’t have time is to take him out for lunch as a welcome message. I am just too busy and haven’t had enough time for my own lunch.

He has not been sleeping on his desk since, however… he is still late and just cant shows passion of learning…
But thank you for the advice. This is not my first time to supervise an intern, but definitely the first time getting an intern that don’t want the job enough to stay awake…
Thank you for all the advice, I only hope one day when this guy get out of school, this internship will help him to be a better designer.

Sounds like a really difficult situation to be in, and it also sounds like you are giving it your best. Hopefully at some point he will wake up and realize how much of a debt he owes you.

Well, as a recent RISD alumni I don’t think this person reflects the school – although he should realize that in your company, he is representing RISD.

Were these flags detected during the interview process?
You mentioned he is your second intern, how is the first doing?
Is the internship paid?

It sounds like you need to share with him a list of criteria that he is required to follow. Then there is something to grade him by…which could provide some clarity on your end…